Doctorate in Business Administration

Doctor of Business Administration DBA

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: 
Home/EU part-time tuition fee: £10,475 & £4,000 writing up fee
International full time annual tuition fee: £11,900 & £4,000 writing up fee

Course type



Liverpool Business School

Study mode

Part Time

About your course

The Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at Liverpool Business School provides senior executives, managers, consultants and academics with the opportunity to achieve the highest academic degree while remaining in full time employment. Equivalent to a PhD qualification, the DBA is ideal for those pursuing a professional career.

  • Focus on situational issues from your own workplace, whilst continuing your employment
  •  Enhances not only your ability to develop new knowledge, but also the ability to apply that knowledge to a professional context.
  •  Equips you with the necessary skills to carry out rigorous research.
  •  Provides the flexibility to carry out individual projects that impact on your organisation and industry.
  • Undertake your research amongst a carefully-selected, highly diverse group of professionals, drawn from a wide range of nationalities, industries, cultures and backgrounds.
  • Attend a limited number of residential workshops in Liverpool to develop your skills and meet your supervisors

Watch our course video to find out more.

Staff are actively engaged in research encompassing finance, marketing, international business, e-government, HRM, performance management, knowledge management, sustainability and much more.

LJMU has a reputation as one of the top business schools in the world. The University provides an inspirational learning experience with the highest quality of lecturers, doctoral conferences, training programmes, e-library, visiting business leaders and candidates from around the world.

Binu Varghese, current DBA student

Introduction to the School

The Liverpool Business School is a forward looking, professional, business school, active globally as well as locally. We maintain close links with business and place students at the centre of all that we do.

We offer a diverse range of high quality undergraduate, postgraduate and research based programmes covering all aspects of business and management. With expertise particularly in finance, marketing, public relations, information management and human resources, LBS has a strong reputation in external research and in collaborative ventures with partners across a range of sectors in the UK and internationally.

Whether you have just finished your degree, are currently in employment or are returning to study after a break, our postgraduate and professional programmes will enhance your academic and professional development.

Why study this course at LJMU?

Join a cohort of senior professionals and apply your research directly to the needs of your business, driving forward organisational progress without putting your learning or your business on hold. You will contribute to commercial and academic knowledge and, upon graduation, will possess a specialist range of problem solving and decision making strategies that will take you to the next level of success.

The DBA at Liverpool Business School is unique in its design and structure and the level of support it provides to the candidates. It has been running successfully for 10 years and we have recently modified the design, following feedback and consultation with previous candidates, in order to ensure it continues to meet the current needs of candidates. This refined programme will run for the first time in January 2019 (subject to validation).

The programme will be of particular benefit to experienced business professionals. A DBA will enhance professional capability and credibility, enable you to develop networks, and provide a firm foundation for further career development or a major career move. Employers benefit from supporting candidates for the DBA by attracting, developing and retaining key talent and building knowledge for competitive advantage.

As part of the course, you will benefit from the following:

Workshops (year 1 – 3 only)

  • 7 residential workshops each 4 days long at Liverpool Business School
  • Catering throughout the day
  • Accommodation for 3 nights including breakfast and dinner at the hotel for each workshop
  • Networking event during each workshop (includes catering)
  • Dinner at a local restaurant


  • Supervision throughout the duration of your doctoral studies by two qualified DBA supervisors

Other opportunities and events

  • Participation in the DBA Writing Retreats which are facilitated twice per year at Liverpool Business School including catering
  • Participation in the Doctoral Conference at Liverpool Business School including catering
  • Participation in research methods training offered by NARTI (Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative)
  • Participation in the monthly Action Learning Sets which are facilitated by an academic member of staff of LBS via Adobe Connect
  • Access to thousands of academic journals and books including e-books through the LJMU online library resources

You also have access to the doctoral facilities at LBS whenever you decide to come to Liverpool to work here.


Liverpool Business School is a member of the Executive DBA Council (EDBAC) and, as such, we believe in fostering excellence and innovation in executive doctoral degree programmes.

A dedicated and passionate team is responsible for running the DBA. If you have any queries prior to your application please don't hesitate to get in touch with Dr Christine Unterhitzenberger, DBA Programme Leader.

Dr Christine Unterhitzenberger

Dr Joanna Qu

Prof David Bryde

Programme outline and structure

This Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) provides senior executives and managers with the opportunity to achieve the highest academic degree while remaining in full time employment. Equivalent to a PhD qualification, the DBA is ideal for those pursuing a professional career.

The DBA at Liverpool Business School will enable you to:

  • Develop a sound understanding of the relevant conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of your chosen area of research into business and management
  • Have a detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic and management enquiry
  • Create and interpret knowledge through original research.
  • Enhance both your performance as a reflective practitioner and your professional practice
  • Develop personal, consultancy and research competences to undertake rigorous research at an advanced level that contributes to theory and practice in business and management

The DBA is designed for senior professionals, managers and consultants, as well as academics, who wish to broaden their skills and develop in-depth knowledge. In contrast to a PhD, a DBA at Liverpool Business School not only requires a contribution to theory, but also a contribution to practice. Hence, candidates undertaking a DBA at LBS need to demonstrate that they make an impact on the development of a profession and/or an organisation.

This impact can be demonstrated within the organisation the candidate is employed in or in another organisation as well as on a professional body or policy level. Often candidates rely on the organisation they are working in for data collection and demonstrating their contribution to practice. This close link to industry and practice can be highly beneficial for the employer as well, with previous DBA research projects resulting in large financial savings for the organisations that candidates implemented them in.  

A close link to industry and practice is important when undertaking a DBA and therefore, candidates who already have a professional network and at least two years of managerial experience (or five years of other working experience) will benefit most from the programme.

The structure of the DBA at Liverpool Business School has been designed based on the Business School's 10 years of experience running a DBA. The design is based on two principles:

  1. Allow full-time professionals from all over the world to undertake doctoral studies part-time.
  2. Provide the full-time professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, tools and techniques to undertake high quality research on a doctoral level and contributing to their professional practice.

Based on these two principles we've designed the following structure:

Year 1

Three residential workshops (taught elements) each 4 days long will take place in Liverpool. These workshops focus on the planning process of the research, on refining the topic and basic research methods.

Year 2 and 3

Two residential workshops, each 4 days long per year, will take place in Liverpool. These workshops focus on the execution of the research, i.e. data collection and analysis, but also on a dissemination and impact strategy, as well as academic writing and viva preparation.

Year 4 – 7

Our experience shows that DBA candidates typically take four years to complete their thesis, whereas the maximum duration of the programme is seven years. During year 4 – 7 no residential workshops take place. The thesis can be submitted any time during year 4 – 7.

What you will study on this degree

​Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study. Please note, these modules are subject to validation.

The DBA consists of three core modules: Planning module: planning of your research supported by taught elements (planning your research, de- and refine your topic and basic research methods).

  • Investigative Project module: execution of your research supported by taught elements (literature review, research design incl. data collection and analysis, discussion of findings).
  • Reflective module: reflection on your personal development during the DBA journey supported by taught elements (module processes and portfolio). 

The supervision during doctoral studies is a key element of the experience. Our DBA candidates are supervised only by full-time academics employed at Liverpool Business School who are research active themselves and have a track record of publications and conference presentations.

The supervisory team is usually made up of two supervisors. If the circumstances require it a third supervisor can be added to the team. All our supervisors attend regular supervisor training workshops and are familiar with the most recent developments in supervising professional doctorate candidates.

If a DBA is undertaken within an organisation, an industrial advisor can be added to the supervisory team to represent the interests from practice. This is usually a manager or senior professional who is already an expert in the field of research. 

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

There are various assessments throughout the duration of the programme. During year 1 there are three deliverables to submit in relation to each of the residential workshops (research plan, research proposal, methodological considerations). Furthermore, in year 2 and 3 there are four deliverables to submit which are again linked to the residential workshops (literature review, presentation, publishable paper, impact plan). These assessments are graded on a pass/fail basis.

The final submission which leads to the award of the doctorate is the thesis. The thesis can be submitted earliest after completion of year 3 and it is 80,000 words long (+/- 10%). The assessment of the thesis takes place in form of an oral examination (viva voce) undertaken by two examiners, who should be experts in your field. One examiner is internal to LJMU and one is external.


Staff research interests

Liverpool Business School is home to a vibrant and active research community who are committed to innovation and excellence in research.

Members of staff at Liverpool Business School have research expertise in a broad variety of fields. There are currently three research groups within the school which emphasise the strategic direction:

However, there are also other areas of expertise like Accounting and Finance, Economics and Marketing as well as Consumer Behaviour. Please have a look at the staff profiles below and indicate on your proposal to which topic/member of staff your research outline corresponds.

Entry requirements (Home)

A DBA, which is a doctoral level qualification, is a challenging, but also rewarding journey. In order to make sure you are suitable for the programme we have defined the following entry requirements for the programme:

  • A master's degree in the area of business and/or management
  • At least two years of managerial or five years of other working experience

In order to make an application to the programme you need to provide the following documents via the online application:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Master's certificate and transcript in the area of business and/or management – these must be official English translations
  • Evidence of at least two years of managerial or five years of other working experience – this can be e.g. a confirmation by your current employer or a reference letter from a former employer
  • An academic reference, which recommends you for the programme – this can be e.g. from your master's institution
  • An industry reference, which recommends you for the programme – this can be e.g. from your employer, from a client and/or professional body
  • Personal statement (max. 2,000 words) – this is not a full research proposal, but should address why you would like to do a DBA, why you think you are suitable for the programme and what you expect from the DBA. You should furthermore provide a brief outline of your research topic and its contribution to theory and practice. Please don't forget to indicate to which topic/member of staff your research outline corresponds.

How your application is considered

  1. The application is screened to ensure the candidate meets the entry requirements and has submitted all their supporting documents.
  2. If the candidate meets the minimum entry requirements and all documents have been received, the application is passed to the appropriate academics within the School for consideration and to identify a suitable supervisory team.
  3. The DBA Team and/or an appropriate academic member of staff will interview the applicant and make a decision following the interview. For applicants in the UK, they are invited to attend the interview in person at Liverpool Business School. For applicants based elsewhere, the interview will normally take place by telephone, Skype or Adobe Connect.

The deadline for applications for the January 2019 intake is 15th November 2018. Should you have any queries regarding the entry criteria or documents required, please contact the Faculty Admissions Office at busadmiss​​.

Entry requirements (International)

LJMU welcomes applications from international candidates. In addition to the above outline entry requirements for Home applicants, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.5 (with no single component below 6.0) or equivalent.

For UK visa requirements, please contact the UK Entry Clearance or contact LJMU's International Advice Team: 

Will I be interviewed?



6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

If you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments.

LJMU Alumni Award

20% tuition fee discount

If you're a former Liverpool John Moores University student, you could be eligible for a 20% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees. The fee reduction will apply automatically to eligible students. You’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

    Graduate employment

    The DBA leads to a D-level (Doctorate) qualification but offers added value in terms of structure, delivery and your own experience while studying on the programme.

    If you are employed during the course of your DBA, you will probably undertake research which directly links to your employer's area of business. This will be of great benefit to you and your employer, particularly if you are focused on a large-scale project. 

    Previous students have found that the research undertaken during their DBA has helped them gain valuable and objective feedback which has essentially provided their employers with high levels of focused, internal consultancy.

    International Study

    International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

    Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

    Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

    Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


    LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

    These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

    You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

    Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

    • new international applicants
    • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
    • LJMU international alumni

    The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
    Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

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